Needless to say, there’s nothing remotely local or organic about Top Ramen soup noodles. A package of “beef flavor” noodles contains just 190 calories — but a whopping 18% of the delicious saturated fat you need for the day and 32% of the recommended sodium load. Yow! When it gets busy around here, though, Top Ramen is often how I feed myself when I just can’t or won’t cook.

As always, the truth is complicated. I love the stuff but also like to think of the noodles as merely a vehicle for straggler vegetables from the backyard, like the seven green beans we got last week, the handful of broccoli florets, chunks from that monster zuke. Lately I’ll also stir in some chopped Thai basil, since we’re getting so much of it this summer, and a healthy dose of chili paste. And when there’s extra meat stock on hand, I’ll eschew the flavor packet for the real stuff. When life gives you Top Ramen, make Top Ramenade.

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